Is Finding A Job As A Pharmacist Hard? (Shortage Of PharmD Jobs)

Is Finding A Job As A Pharmacist Hard?

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who practice in pharmacy. As a pharmacist, you will be responsible for different aspects of medicine delivery to patients. The pharmacist needs to supervise the medicine supply chain and also need to make sure that the pharmacy premises and systems are fit for purpose.

To become a licensed and certified pharmacist, you need to get a lot of education. First, you need to complete your undergraduate degree, then the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. And, once you complete all your studies, you need to pass the licensure examination. Without passing the licensure exam (NAPLEX), you won’t be considered as a certified pharmacist.

Now, the question is, after going through all these, will it be easy to get a high-paying job? Or finding a job as a pharmacist is hard?

The difficulty of finding a job as a pharmacist will be based somewhat on where you live. Not all regions of the United States will have the same demand for pharmacists.

As compared to the past few years, yes, it has been challenging to find a job as a pharmacist. Earlier, there used to be a shortage of pharmacists. At present, with the increase in new grads, finding a high paying job as a pharmacist has been a bit hard. After completing your pharmacy education, finding a job won’t be hard; finding a well-paying job would be. So, it is good to start gaining experience and improving skills to stand apart from the rest of the applicants and chase the well-paying job.

When to start applying for pharmacist jobs?

You must be confused by seeing some people applying for jobs after getting licensed, while some apply for pharmacist jobs after completing graduation. The question is when to start applying for pharmacist jobs?

You can apply for the intern job before completing your graduation. You can go through websites of companies like Walgreens, CVS, etc. and start looking for job requirements.

It’s also based on what pharmacy type you want to work in, retail or hospital. If you want to be in a retail pharmacy, you can apply to pharmacy retail store chains like Walgreens and CVS Health. Depending on the hospital, it may or may not accept the application before getting licensure. Your aim should be applying for job 1 or 2 months before you ready to work.

How long does it take to find a pharmacist job?

Are you looking for a job as a pharmacist? The pharmacy has a broad career scope. There are jobs available in different pharmacy types. The important thing is having skills, knowledge, and good enough experience in the pharmacy type you see your future. The time it will take to find a pharmacist job will be based mainly on these factors.

To know this, there was a survey conducted. In that survey, the full-time employed pharmacists and unemployed pharmacists were asked this question: How long do you think it will take an unemployed pharmacist to find a job?

Responses from full-time employed pharmacists: In that survey, 29% of respondents said it would take 1 to 3 months to find a job. 49% of respondents said 4 to 6 months to find a job. 18% of respondents said it would take 7 to 12 months to find a job. 4% of respondents said it would take more than a year to find a pharmacist job.

Responses from unemployed and looking for job pharmacists: In that survey, 8% of respondents said it would take 1 to 3 months to find a job. 21% of respondents said 4 to 6 months to find a job. 29% of respondents said it would take 7 to 12 months to find a job. 42% of respondents said it would take more than a year to find a pharmacist job.

How Hard Is It To Find A Pharmacist Job? From Real Pharmacists

We didn’t want you to only take our word on this matter so we have gone out to Pharmacist Forums and Sites to get real opinions from Pharmacists.

We curated this information so nothing was changed besides any grammar or spelling where needed.

1. Mentos “Jobs can be hard to find” – The answers to these questions can easily be found in these forums (the very first sticky at the top of this forum, for example) or with a simple Google search. But I’ll answer them anyway.

1. Jobs are hard to find in any desirable area to live, aka urban cities, places near any body of water, towns that have grocery stores in them, etc. It’s not as hard to get a job in rural West Virginia or northern Idaho.
2. Depends. It’s usually a negligible amount in the long run. A retail pharmacist is not much better off in life than a clinical pharmacist. A residency is 1-2 years. They are competitive. No.

2. Gwarm01 “Lean toward hospital staff jobs” – There’s middle ground between a clinical pharmacist and a retail pharmacist, at least there used to be. It seems “hospital pharmacist” and “clinical pharmacist” are used pretty interchangeably lately, but you can still find hospital staffing jobs. Even without a residency. It’s an option to get your foot in the door with a smaller hospital if you don’t match.

3. PHarmtoCS “Clinical way to go” – Very competitive, and getting more so every year. The number of graduates not matching with any residencies is rising each year. Before, nearly every graduate could match with at least one residency.

4. Digsbe “Lots of clinical pharmacy positions” – The way I see it, there are lots of clinical pharmacy positions out there. When I do job searches they seem to pop up frequently. However, the pay is probably less than retail which remains as being the highest paid area of pharmacy.

It’s not “hard” to find a job if you’re willing to relocate. The northeast area and Chicago seem to be the most saturated areas, but outside of there you should be able to find a job within at least a 1 hour drive from a major city.

I’m considering residency among other things, and it appears that doing one opens up many more doors and employment opportunities. If you hate it or just want money there is nothing stopping you from working retail if you want even after being residency trained, I’ve met pharmacists that did that.

5. Diggerbe “Do a residency if possible” – Think of residency as trying to apply to another graduate program. They look at your grades from pharmacy school, your experiences, leadership roles, etc. Some programs will sift out people below a certain GPA threshold and not even consider their app. It appears that roughly 60% of the people that apply actually get matched. Doing a residency opens the door for more job opportunities, but typically they’ll never pay more than retail pharmacy. Much of the future job growth may take place in clinical areas where residency may be expected for employment. Pending provider status legislation and states expanding scopes some are looking to residency trained only pharmacists to give legal qualifications too. I believe CA and NC have “Advance Practice Pharmacists” legally designated with one requirement being residency or equivalent training to get that designation.

Applying for residency is going to require tons of time management though. Most people apply during their P4 year with applications being due in December. Interviews take place in January-February and the match happens in March. In my opinion, the most stressful part appears to be the interviews because they typically take place during APPE rotations and you’ll have to account for missed time in order to interview while also getting preceptor permission (and oftentimes making up hours missed).

6. MatCauthon “Have backup plans for sure” – Prepare to move. What states do you want to live in? Make sure to register the NAPLEX in all those states. Also, remember that your loan amount is very small and you typically get a 6-month grace period. Even when you start paying your loans, your payment should be pretty small if you use IBR.
Also, stay optimistic. While you need a backup plan, the best time to apply for a job is actually in fall and winter. If you can string together part-time/per diem/staffing jobs until then then you are actually doing great. Getting experience is much more important than finding the perfect job at this point.

7. Seouldds “Be willing to be versatile” – Having practiced pharmacy in all aspects retail, hospital, military, management, consultant, and clinical, all aspects of any pharmacy is definitely stressful. Pharmacy is a customer/patient based… you will see good & bad people.. if you cannot deal with massive amounts of people at one time unlike other health professions “which is usually a one-one at a time”, then it will definitely be stressful and you will hate it. For example, when you work retail, on most locations you will be the only R.Ph. filling and checking Rx… then you will have multiple phones ringing at one time, then tons of customers waiting, as well as faxes & messages for new Rx on phone… it becomes crazy… thus stand up all the time, then limited lunch break/or restroom… Pharmacies will not pay you good hourly pay for nothing… they make sure they get their monies worth…On occasions you will feel okay at the end of the day but on most days no. Interns of stress level I have to rank retail as the most stressful>clinical/hospital”because you will not have a lot of professional anatomy”>military>management>consultant. That is just my thought and everybody will have differing opinions. But then again… pharmacy is a great job, has great job stability… some will love it and others will hate it… everyone is different and differ in how they handle their pharmacy job atmosphere.

8. Inquirer89 “Specialty matters” – To answer the OP, I think it matters a lot on the field and specialty. My experience is limited to hospital pharmacy where my job as a tech is very stressful, and I’m sure the pharmacists I work with can agree about the level of stress they have. But you get used to it. Retail is probably the worse, but if you have a specialty then you can see other aspects of the profession that may limit the stress level. Apparently nuclear pharmacists get stuck in the dark room somewhere

Jobs after pharmacy school

There are so many career opportunities after pharmacy. People pursuing PharmD often get confused about what job position they can get after finishing pharmacy school. Here are diverse career options available to Doctor of Pharmacy graduates:

Community pharmacy

Community pharmacists are often on the first line of health care. A community pharmacy is also known as a retail pharmacy. As a community pharmacist, you will be helping patients and the public assessing their conditions and making decisions about which medicines they should consume. Your job would be to dispense medications and provide advice and practical help to the patients.

Clinic pharmacy practice

In many clinics, pharmacists play a crucial role. Clinical pharmacists perform their functions beyond fundamental dispensing and order processing activities. Under this, there are three types of pharmacists: staff pharmacists, hybrid pharmacists, and clinical pharmacists. Staff pharmacists perform little to no clinical activities. Hybrid pharmacists perform both dispensing & order processing activities as well as clinical activities. Clinical pharmacists perform clinical activities only.

Hospital pharmacy

Another career option available after the completion of pharmacy school is hospital pharmacy. Under hospital pharmacy, you will be directly involved in patient care. As a hospital pharmacist, you will be adjusting and monitoring patients’ health in the hospital. Under the hospital pharmacy, you will be working closely with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

Government agencies

Various local, state and federal government agencies also require skilled pharmacists. It includes agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Veterans Administration, and the Armed Forces.

Academic pharmacy

To become an academic pharmacist, you need to have strong knowledge about clinical pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, etc. As an academic pharmacist, you will be focusing on providing the best education and developing future pharmacists.

Final Thoughts

Finding a job as a pharmacist should not be challenging for those who have sufficient knowledge, skills, and experience. Based on your skills and interests, you can get into retail pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, ambulatory pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, etc. When it comes to finding a pharmacy job, location also creates a significant impact. Your location may or may not have the demand for pharmacists.

Yes there are more Pharmacy schools as every so maybe a residency might be something to look into since it is a step above the PharmD when it comes to that effort and learning period. This is completely up to you, but I would definitely think it is a great idea along with specializes your degree in something like Nuclear Pharmacist.

Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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